Puebloan Ruins of the Southwest offers a complete picture of Puebloan culture from its prehistoric beginnings through twenty-five hundred years of growth and change, ending with the modern-day Pueblo Indians of New Mexico and Arizona. Aerial and ground photographs, over 325 in color, and sixty settlement plans provide an armchair trip to ruins that are open to the public and that may be visited or viewed from nearby. Included, too, are the living pueblos from Taos in north central New Mexico along the Rio Grande Valley to Isleta, and westward through Acoma and Zuni to the Hopi pueblos in Arizona. In addition to the architecture of the ruins, Puebloan Ruins of the Southwest gives a detailed overview of the Pueblo Indians' lifestyles including their spiritual practices, food, clothing, shelter, physical appearance, tools, government, water management, trade, ceramics, and migrations.
An interesting sidelight on the migration problem is one of the most evocative and famous of Puebloan archaeological sites, Mesa Verde, was built, occupied, and abandoned over a period of around 75 years. The Denver generic suburb I live in is older than that. Mesa Verde had considerable impact on the history of North American archaeology; the sites there were relatively intact and since they were mostly built in cliff embayments they were in better physical shape than sites in the open. Thus, Mesa Verde architectural styles and methods were originally seen as archetypes for the rest of ancient Puebloan culture, until carbon dating and dendrochronology revealed the relatively brief occupational period. Mesa Verde overlooks a series of sites in the Montezuma Valley (Yellow Jacket Ruin, Lowry Ruin, Sand Canyon Ruin, Escalante Ruin, Dominguez Ruin, Duckfoot Ruin) that were contemporary to Mesa Verde and would have supported a population many times that of the cliff dwellings; however, serious archaeological work didn’t start there until 50 or so years after it did at Mesa Verde, and the sites are less well known.
Excellent maps, including a chronological series showing how the centers of Puebloan population changed through the ages. There are aerial photographs and/or plans of every site mentioned, and directions to those that are publically accessible, and there’s a thorough bibliography including both original dig reports and popular works. About the only negative feature is that the large format makes the book unsuitable as a field guidebook, especially for those sites that require a little hiking to reach. Great for background and reference, though.